Sarangi mela to commemorate Ustad Sultan Khan’s 5th death anniversary

The sarangi has always evoked the beauty of the desert musicians of Thar. The man who made the traditional bow-instrument popular as a solo instrument not only in India but across the world was late maestro Padma Bhushan Ustad Sultan Khan. To mark his fifth death anniversary, sarangi exponents from across the country are coming together for a unique Sarangi Mela on November 27.

His sitar player-music composer nephew Imran Khan pointed out how the finale of this concert will be an homage to Ustad ji by popular artistes like Salim-Suleman and Roop Kumar Rathod,who will be accompanied by his daughter Reewa Rathod. The evening will see classical and fusion music, with a dash of Bollywood thrown in as these icons present the compositions of the beloved Khan saab with a full live band. A special percussion performance will open this event by Fazal Qureshi, Taufiq and son Shikhar Naad Qureshi and Ranjit Barot. “The Sarangi Mela has been conceived by his son, Sabir Khan, in tribute to the heart and soul of Ustad Sultan Khan’s sarangi. Sabir continues the legacy by following in the footsteps of his father by taking sarangi to all the corners of this world,” he said and added, “Since Mumbai, was Ustad ji‘s hometown for most of his life, Sabir thought it would be a fitting tribute to curate a musical evening in his memory.”

The sarangi artists on the day are Ghulam Sabir Khan, Liyakat Ali Khan, Dhruba Ghosh, Sarwar Hussein, Ikram Khan, Iliyas Khan, Vinod Pawar, Farooque Latif Khan, Murad Ali Khan, Dilshad Khan, Alla Rakha Kalavant, Sabir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Khalid Khan. Accompanying them on tabla will be Fazal Qureshi, Hanif Khan, Anuradha Pal, Anubrata Chatterjee and Aaditya Kalyanpur

“All the artists are participating in this event as a dedication to the man who brought sarangi to the international stage, and in some way inspired them in their own music,” said the maestro’s son Sabir Khan who remembered how his late father had fought many odds to give sarangi its due position besides the flute and sitar. “My grandfather advised him to learn classical singing if he wanted to be a popular artist and not remain limited to being an accompanist. But the young Sultan Khan was adamant that he would learn the sarangi. He took his sarangi and his musical oeuvre across the world as a solo artist accompanied by the great Ustad Zakir Hussein, a memorable partnership of many years. He had the good fortune of accompanying greats like Pt Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pt Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Nazakat Ali-Salamat Ali khan, and Kishori Amonkar.”

Lamenting his untimely death, Sabir Khan said that this year’s memorial concert was special since it was showcasing the sarangi especially. “Wherever he is, Khan saab must be very happy at this celebration of his favourite instrument.”